Hardyston reviews budget concerns for the coming year

HARDYSTON. Gas prices and inflation may leave the township short.

| 02 Aug 2022 | 12:31

Hardyston Township Manager Carrine Piccolo-Kaufer, as part her manager’s report at the July 27 council meeting, discussed an update on the township’s revenues and expenditures as of mid-year. Kaufer explained that the interest on investment revenue for the 2021 budget was anticipated to be $90,000, and in 2022 the budget was reduced by 50% to $45,000. As of July 2022, the town has only earned about $14,000. Kaufer said it was unlikely that the township will realize 100% of the anticipated amount.

Kaufer provided an update on Uniform Construction Code revenue. Kaufer explained to the Advertiser that, to date, the town has received approximately $152,000, which is an estimated $42,000 less than the same time last year. Kaufer told the council that it is unlikely that the township will realize the full amount anticipated in this year’s budget; however, Kaufer said that they are seeing significant revenue with their shared service partners, which will help to offset the revenue shortfall in Hardyston. Newton and Franklin, in particular, have already met their base contract amounts for 2022. Franklin’s anticipated base contract is $85,000. Kaufer said that as of today, they have realized $356,000 in construction earnings. Franklin will receive a portion of those fees in excess of the base amount based on terms of the contract. Excess revenue retained by Hardyston from the shared service agreements will be acquired as surplus revenue which can be used in future budget years.

Kaufer also discussed 2022 budget appropriations, in particular, how they relate to the Department of Public Works operations, which was of concern in the development of the 2022 municipal budget. Kaufer said they have spent around 3/4 of the budget on buildings and grounds. The town has had a lot of HVAC issues. For vehicle and equipment repairs, they had budgeted $164,000 and they spent $95,000, and this leaves around $70,000 for the remainder of the year. A considerable portion of the budget is used to prepare the trucks for the winter weather ahead, and there may be a shortfall.

The budget included $90,000 for gasoline, and to date the township has spent approximately 65% of this year’s budget. Kaufer said whether or not there is sufficient funds for the remainder of the year will be based on what happens with the price of gasoline in the upcoming months.

In other news, Kaufer explained that the state offered to conduct a gypsy moth survey, if the council agrees to it. The surveys are usually done in the fall, so council just has to authorize and sign the agreement if they choose to have it done. “Participation in the survey does not bind the town to any treatment that may be recommended. If they do identify a large number of egg masses that need to be treated, there is usually a cost share associated with the state doing the treatment,” explained Kaufer. They are waiting on the results of the survey.

Kaufer also mentioned that Hardyston received a grant from the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) to be located at the Hardyston Municipal building. The township also applied for a grant from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, in addition to the BPU grant. This application is still pending. The award from the BPU will cover 90% of the cost of the project. The same BPU grant that Hardyston received for its charging stations was also awarded to multiple Crystal Springs’ businesses including: Ballyowen Golf Club, Grand Cascades Lodge, and Minerals. The power for the municipal charging stations will be drawn from the municipal buildings and the charging stations will have a fee to use and be paid for with the patron’s credit cards.